First Nations Are Rising Up, Get Out of the Way

Sorry, this post is quite repetitive, but you´ll get the point . . .

¨He has shown you, O man, what is good, and what Yahweh requires of you. But to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.¨ (Micah 6:8)

This is one of those posts where I have to ponder, ponder, ponder to figure out what angle I´m going to use to attack the issues I´m contemplating. Ponder, ponder, ponder.

Wide awake at 4:13 am on a Saturday morning. That´s what happens when you go to bed too early at night! At least for me. Got my brekkie in front o’me, my wife´s sleeping nearby, my son with his dog in his arms in a room nearby, my dad also, dreaming about his last days on earth. Writing this first in a blank journal before I copy it into my blog on my black Dell laptop equipped with Ubuntu (Linux) freeware OS & apps instead of making MS and Apple richer. My, that oatmeal topped with raisins, sesame seeds and honey, soaked in rice milk, is looking mighty tasty!

I´ve got this Tom Morello song stuck in my head. This tune from the former guitarist of Rage Against the Machine and Audioslave has been wafting through the dusty corridors of my brain:

Cause I’m a one man
I’m a one man
I’m a one man revolution
I’m a one man
I’m a one man
I’m a one man revolution
The time is nigh
The day is dark
There’s only one solution
I’m a one man
I’m a one man
I’m a one man revolution

Now of course I´m not so naive to think that I can do a.t. substantial as a solo act. I need a team. But before the team congeals, I need to know what my Cause is.

THE CAUSE: TO DO JUSTICE, TO LOVE MERCY AND TO WALK HUMBLY WITH YAHWEH

Well, I really don´t know how much time I have left on this planet. So…gotta make the most of it.

The Micah verse above talks about justice, and I would say, social justice…to do the right thing by everybody and everything. To love mercy I´d say means loving your neighbour as yourself. Treating everyone as equal. And journeying along with Yah on this 3rd rock from the sun.

So what does this mean in the Turtle Island context?

Well, for one thing, although in my town there is not a lot of visible First Nations´ presence, except for a tiny reserve by the river, and an expensive native art shop in downtown, I can feel the … uh … aura (?) around me. That is, I´m walking on their land, the territory which was visited, then invaded, then conquered by the Union Jack´s reps. 1000s of years of history in this land, but our history books only start at 2 or 3 hundred years before, usually with the arrival of the ¨discoverers¨, the traders, the gold panners, the settlers, the pioneers, the dissenters from the Church of England, the gunboats, the industrialists, the queen´s agents and so on.

And there are places all over North and South Turtle Island (Canada and the US respectively) that have substantial First Nations’ presence, like my Pop´s hometown on the Prairies.   Maybe I should leave Sto:lo territory and move back to where all my Norwegian cousins are. Over there you can find FNs everywhere!

To do justice means to stop putting down the First Nations.

We Europeans grabbed the best land here, and threw them back the table scraps. And crap, the scraps have oil, natural gas and minerals in that lousy ground. And thus, Avatar-like we go, sending corporate, gov´t and military reps to push the FNs down even further just to profit from extracting that underground stuff.

And then at the same time, the urban aboriginal population is booming in many cities of North Turtle Island. With a few city FNs doing quite well more themselves, many are not. There´s a cry you can hear. The cry may come from the lips of a FN person, or implicitly from within our own consciences:

First Nation people just want to be respected as humans, to be able to recover and maintain their cultures, to work, study, play, sing, make money, run businesses, raise healthy families and be healthy people.

I know that many FN folks would love to get their land back, but…

…is it going to happen soon?

And what until then?

Unlike Avatar or other Hollywood fare, there´s not going to be any white man coming over the horizon to save the First Nations. Nor any from China, India or anywhere else. FN people are choosing their own leaders and rise up by themselves.

But there´s one thing we Euros and other immigrant groups can do for the original people of the land: GET OUT OF THE WAY!

It doesn´t mean getting our derrieres on to the cruise-liners and jet planes and hot-tailing it back to Europe, Asia, Africa or elsewhere. My grandparents´ home country won´t let this me back on to its soil very easily. I could return to Asia where I worked for several years, but I have aging parents, and a child who can´t go anywhere else.  Looks like I´m stuck…

What GETTING OUT OF THE WAY means, in fact, is supporting FNs any way we can.

It means REMOVING all obstacles we have put in the way, things that have been blocking FNs development.

Push the gov´t.

Push the corporations.

Push ourselves.

Stop bullying the First Nations.

To cease robbing them of their authority over their own lands and resources and families and cultures and languages and…

FN people are in this Turtle Island society whether they like it or not, whether we non-FNs like it or not. I´m so  sick and tired of witnessing either FN people not even being mentioned publicly as much as they should be during discussions of community (eg, transportation – new bridges, urban developments, etc.), OR, when mentioned, being treated as a nuisance, as an obstacle blocking federal, provincial/state or local development.

Europeans of Turtle Island (and all you other immigrant groups), just get out of the way of the First Nations!

Let the FN people rise up, and take their rightful place in the present and future history of Turtle Island!

Yes, FN have contributed a lot to Canada and the US already.

But let´s get out of the way, and live to see FN people rise to their full potential!

The best is yet to come!

North Turtle Island in particular has many regions where the FN youth population is exploding, eg, the Prairie provinces of North Turtle Island.

Let´s see these young people trained, equipped, mentored, coached and then let loose to be the best workers this country´s ever seen, to be the best business people, the best teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, logistics coordinators, fishers, environmentalists, scientists, activists, singers, politicians, etc.

While many people accuse Calvin Helin as a sell-out to governments and corporations, and others idolise him as a Messianic figure, I won´t judge him either way at this point. What I can say that his book Dances With Dependency: Indigenous Success through Self-Reliance does offer some interesting, positive suggestions.

Of course, FNs must be compensated for this land we Euros have stolen. Yes, we are greatly in debt to FNs.

But realistically, are the federal, provincial and local governments really going to change much? Especially without many, many people in the public pushing, pushing, pushing them to do right by the First Nations?

Will corporations really start, from their own initiative, to respect FNs? I sincerely doubt it. They are going to need their derrieres kicked too, to feel the push, push, push of pro-FN people demanding that the original inhabitants of Turtle Island are treated equally, treated with respect.

What Calvin Helin is saying, I think, and what many successful aboriginal folks are saying is that:

FN people must rise up.

Everyone else: get out of the way, stop obstructing them, and start supporting them in any way possible.

We all want to see more success stories. Not success as defined by White Society, but real success: people rising up who have power, resources and a strength that affects all areas of life, including family, career, business, education, health, spirituality, etc.

If you continue either ignoring or opposing FN people, the true founders and backbone of Turtle Island, you not only will be standing on the wrong side of history…

…but you´ll get a pretty severe tongue-lashing (if not more) when you go to meet your Maker.

Yahweh doesn´t lounge about idly in the Heavens, sitting still and putting up with your bullying of First Nations, or anyone else, for that matter: women, seniors, kids, physically or mentally challenged, immigrants, migrant labourers, refugees, single parents, chronically ill, war veterans, gay people, divorcees, etc.

Love Yahweh, love your neighbour as yourself. It´s not just Bob Marley or Martin Luther King Jr or Terry Fox or Bono or others saying that. Yah says it Himself, it´s the main message of the Good Book from cover to cover. It´s written by Him in your conscience, burned in there by an invisible branding iron.

And while you´re at it:

Stop messing up the Environment!

I want my great-great grandchildren to have some clean air to breathe, some clean water to drink, some good job or business to support them, some nice view of nature to look at.

Stop electing leaders who abuse FNs, wreck our planet, kiss the bottoms of the Rich esp. the Corporations, who decimate the Middle Class while overpopulating the Poor Class, etc. Get the Agent Smiths out of office!

OK, this blog´s done for today.

More next time, Yah-willing . . .

Sorry, 1 last couple notes:

Another Tom Morello lyric and a few lines from Micah the prophet after that:

There’s a man homeless and hungry
There’s a wind that’s hard and biting
There’s a song in need of singing
There’s a fuse in need of light
It’s no secret the day is coming
And it’s a day I hope to see
But if they ask
If they ask you brother
Who told you that
You didn’t hear it from me

Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring

There’s a book with seven seals
There’s a beast with seven heads
There’s seven angels on seven horses
There’s seven vials with seven plagues
So if you hear
If you hear a knocking
On that door
Just let it be
But if they ask
If they ask you brother
Who told you that
You didn’t hear it from me

Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring

Where the righteous
Where the righteous stood
And where the righteous
Where the righteous fell
There’s a voice
That’s soft and whispering
Coming from the bottom of the well
And I tried hard to remember
To remember what that voice said
Over and over
Over and over
I repeated those words
Inside my head

Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring

Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring
Let Freedom Ring

And if they ask
If they ask you brother
Who told you that
Tell them it was me

– Tom Morello, ¨Let Freedom Ring¨ from “The Nightwatchman” on the One Man Revolution

Now the night will close around you,
cutting off all your visions.
Darkness will cover you,
putting an end to your predictions.
The sun will set for you prophets,
and your day will come to an end.
7 Then you seers will be put to shame,
and you fortune-tellers will be disgraced.
And you will cover your faces
because there is no answer from God.”

8 But as for me, I am filled with power—
with the Spirit of the LORD.
I am filled with justice and strength
to boldly declare Israel’s sin and rebellion.
9 Listen to me, you leaders of Israel!
You hate justice and twist all that is right.
10 You are building Jerusalem
on a foundation of murder and corruption.
11 You rulers make decisions based on bribes;
you priests teach God’s laws only for a price;
you prophets won’t prophesy unless you are paid.
Yet all of you claim to depend on the LORD.
“No harm can come to us,” you say,
“for the LORD is here among us.”
12 Because of you, Mount Zion will be plowed like an open field;
Jerusalem will be reduced to ruins!
A thicket will grow on the heights
where the Temple now stands.

1 In the last days, the mountain of the LORD’s house
will be the highest of all—
the most important place on earth.
It will be raised above the other hills,
and people from all over the world will stream there to worship.
2 People from many nations will come and say,
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
to the house of Jacob’s God.
There he will teach us his ways,
and we will walk in his paths.”
For the LORD’s teaching will go out from Zion;
his word will go out from Jerusalem.
3 The LORD will mediate between peoples
and will settle disputes between strong nations far away.
They will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will no longer fight against nation,
nor train for war anymore.
4 Everyone will live in peace and prosperity,
enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees,
for there will be nothing to fear.
The LORD of Heaven’s Armies
has made this promise!
5 Though the nations around us follow their idols,
we will follow the LORD our God forever and ever.

6 “In that coming day,” says the LORD,
“I will gather together those who are lame,
those who have been exiles,
and those whom I have filled with grief.
7 Those who are weak will survive as a remnant;
those who were exiles will become a strong nation.
Then I, the LORD, will rule from Jerusalem
as their king forever.”
8 As for you, Jerusalem,
the citadel of God’s people,
your royal might and power
will come back to you again.
The kingship will be restored
to my precious Jerusalem.

– Micah chapters 3 and 4 excerpts, NLT

                                                                                        Over.

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About sleepless in turtle island

Hi, I´m Dimitri. I have lived in Turtle Island for awhile now, so my cultural understanding is slowly improving. Also, I can see things in this place that boggle my mind. Thus this blog...
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